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A cast iron kettle question

Post in 'The Gear' started by fireview2788, Sep 6, 2011.

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  1. fireview2788

    fireview2788 Minister of Fire

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    My wife would like a cast iron kettle for the stove to serve as a steamer but also to have hot water at the ready if she wants tea or the girls want hot chocolate. Everything I am finding says that you can't drink the water, why is that? Also, does anyone have a place that I can find one that we can use the water for drinking.


    Thanks!

    fv

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  2. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I once had a black painted cast iron kettle and was gross with bubbling rusty water plus it stunk of iron.. I definitely would not drink the water however a stainless steel or porcelain coated kettle should be fine so long as you clean it before using it..

    Ray
  3. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Unless you constantly use distilled water in the kettle, you'll wind up with pretty nasty mineral deposits left in that pot as the water evaporates and leaves the minerals behind.

    Even using distilled water the cast will rust which once again leaves for a pretty unappealing liquid inside the pot.

    With a enamel, porcelain, or stainless pot you can help keep this down to a minimum by completely emptying and refilling the pot each day, but there will still be some buildup and distilled water gets pricey considering what you are doing with it (and many don't recommend drinking it).

    My other concern with kettles is if the stove is really cruising they can boil and spit water onto the top which can ruin the finish.

    I use a steamer on mine (which can be seen in my avatar) that is ceramic so it never rusts, sits on a trivet so it almost never comes to an actual boil, and has a chimney like top which goes straight up rather than out so no spurts of water ever leave it to land on the stove.

    To be honest I don't know why I bother still using it other than habit. It in no way could keep up with my humidity means even putting 1/2 gallon or more of water through it a day. I have to supplement with a humidifier. I keep toying around with the idea of installing an OAK (outside air kit) to keep the stove from using interior air and pulling it's air through leaks in the house (which would help a bit with humidity) but since my humidifier keeps up I don't bother.

    pen
  4. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    If you're hell-bent on heating water on top of your woodstove, you might think about a nice stainless teapot just like you'd use on your stovetop, and set it on a trivet, and don't plan to leave it there full time. You won't have the fine temp control with it sitting on the woodstove that you do on the kitchen stove...no "simmer" setting to be found. Rick

    ETA: As pen said above, nothing that you can find to put on top of a woodstove to act as a "steamer" is going to put a dent in raising your whole house humidity.
  5. n3pro

    n3pro Minister of Fire

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    I see what is left behind and ewwwww. I have occasionally warmed a mug of water for tea on my trivet. The steamer might not help humidity but it does make a nice potpourri air freshener.
  6. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    agreed, 5 steamers on the stove would have hard time keeping up. Not worth it. Aesthetic value, maybe a nice scent would the the only things I could think of.
  7. fireview2788

    fireview2788 Minister of Fire

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    Perfect, thanks guys! I think we will look in a different direction.


    fv
  8. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, absolutely that's a good application...just make sure it never boils dry. Rick
  9. Kamiobi

    Kamiobi Member

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    I guess I need to disagree with the other bits of advice. I use two cast iron kettles all year round and that is the key. You need to keep using the water and when you don't use it you need to change the water everyday. When the kettles are on the stove I will top them off after making tea or coffee or when they are almost empty. In the winter we also use the water to fill up a yutanbo, a japanese hot water bottle (http://www.artisticnippon.com/nippondiary/yutanpo.html). In the case your kettle does start producing rusty water you can boil sweet potato peels in them. The water will turn black, but you keep refreshing the water and boiling the peels until the water becomes clear. I got this tip from an elderly Japanese woman who ran a shop that specialized in kitchenware.
  10. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I wonder what your water quality is compared to a lot of folks here in the US. Perhaps yours is better and that helps make a difference?

    Many here have hard (high mineral content) water.

    pen
  11. Kamiobi

    Kamiobi Member

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    That could be one part of it because we do have really good water in our area. One of the most important things I think is keeping the water fresh by using it for tea and coffee. My parents live in Alaska and their water has very few minerals, but they couldn't keep the kettle I gave them rust free because they didn't use the water enough and often let it boil dry. They also didn't use it over the summer and then in the fall the inside would be all rusty.
  12. GAMMA RAY

    GAMMA RAY Minister of Fire

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    Pfft....you love that pot.....and you know it...aren't there peeps on it? :p
  13. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    I can understand starting off with 'good' water but in many cases around here, tap water does contain so many minerals that the water becomes too hard. I like the idea of the peels when steaming a container on the stove, however two questions come to mind. One is minding the kettle, even if I'm home during the winter months to tend to the stoves wood supply the kettle would most likely run dry before the wood supply needs attention. I did the kettle thing the first year I had the stove and I think my mental awareness gave too much attention to the kettle than to the stove, I didn't like that I was doing that. Second, I went through a copper kettle last year on my secondary stove, the minerals ate right through the metal on the bottom. How does hard water affect cast irom kettles?
  14. Milton Findley

    Milton Findley Feeling the Heat

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    While I am sure that the cast iron steamer on my stove does not keep the air in the house humidified, it does make a dent in the needs in the stove room especially if that Eco Fan is stirring the air over it. I can't keep water in it during heating season.

    I bought myself a circa 1930 Revere Ware copper and brass tea kettle at an antique store last June, and I can hardly wait to let her rip. A little cinnamon or clove oil now and again makes things smell nice too.

    Lake Michigan water, which we use, it as hard as a rock.
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